I want to share something from back when I was in the corporate world and at the onset of my entrepreneurial journey. For the longest time, I thought that a high productivity meant you came out as the winner.
You race for revenue in ways most people simply could not do. I could not have been more wrong.
The educational system has been teaching us to do everything ourselves & work as hard as possible. We have been taught that we are the determining factor for whether we make money or not.
But I am going to tell you, right now, that is absolutely untrue. It is probably one of the worst ways to build a business; in fact, it is one of the worst ways to do any type of work.
In this episode of the Freedom In Five Minutes podcast, I am going to share one mind-shift that took me from first gear to infinite gear — not 1st gear, 2nd gear, 3rd, 4th, nor 5th. This is something that allowed me to continually grow and hopefully would allow you to continually grow as well.
Overview & Episode Content
- Hacks and Methodologies to Boost Your Productivity
- Taking Corporate Principles to Entrepreneurship
- Systemization is the Mt. Everest of Productivity
- Successful Productivity Systems Require Reliable Staff Members
- Perfecting Your Subsystems is Key to Greater Productivity
- Understanding Subsystems within Your Business Processes
- Improve Your Business Productivity with Step-by-Step Checklists
Hacks and Methodologies to Boost Your Productivity
While I was still in the corporate world, I would sit at my computer and completely geek out on different productivity tools, hacks, software, etc… In fact, the very first productivity system that I started using was by David Allen — it was absolutely wonderful in its own right.
That productivity system was called Getting Things Done. It helped me grow in ways I could not have done otherwise. And that system worked wonderfully well within the bounds of my individual productivity.
Another productivity system I loved was Final Version (of Autofocus) — a very simple productivity method. I was hungry for learning and I tried all of these different methodologies.
There were also David Covey’s journals that offered several ways to maximize your individual productivity. I am not going to lie, I absolutely enjoyed the process of learning these mindsets, organization hacks, and getting things out of my head and onto paper. These methodologies helped organize tasks and made my days so much more productive.
Now, those tips worked really well in a corporate setting, especially if you are your own person. That means, these tips work if you might have a manager over you and you do not have a team, or do not have the authority nor the ability to build out a team.
It works really well if you are the Lone Star who is trying to get things done better, faster, cheaper, and easier so that the company grows.
Taking Corporate Principles to Entrepreneurship
After I learned those different productivity methodologies, I began experimenting with different software. There was Wunderlist, Todoist — which follows the GTD format, etc… These software were awesome because I did not have to rely on my notepad and planner anymore.
I could still be productive no matter where I was. Whether I was at home or in the office, I was able to get things done and take my list wherever I went.
The cool thing about it was that I took everything I learned from those productivity methodologies and applied them onto my cloud-based system of lists so I could take them wherever I wanted. It was such a major shift for me because I was no longer limited to physical objects that had to be in front of me and if I lost them — which I normally do — then I would be screwed the next day.
Such is the life of an absent-minded person like me, right? I would be screwed for the rest of the week until I can find my planner. But now, as long as I have a computer and internet access, then I can have my lists and productivity system in front of me.
I noticed that I was becoming an entrepreneur when I started helping a business partner — a cousin — develop Amazon courses and similar programs. We were handling taxes, insurance, accounts payable, and receivable. There were so many things to do on top of the actual work and we quickly found ourselves overwhelmed.
So when I truly became an entrepreneur, I took the same principles I learned in corporate and applied them to what I was doing. I dove into outsourcing — hiring people to do things I want to get done but did not want to do myself.
Systemization is the Mt. Everest of Productivity
UpWork and similar platforms are great resources I use to find talents and get things done for me. I saw the magic of outsourcing but at the same time, I also got burned.
Sometimes, during the hiring process, I would find people who seem awesome on paper. But once they come on the team — maybe a month later — they start becoming inefficient. I have to go look for someone else and repeat the process all over again every time that happens. Other times, I would find amazing people but then they would have to move on to better opportunities and we end up parting ways.
Either case, I was in a situation where I had to constantly stop and start again. Because of a lack of continuity, I was struggling with building a solid team that could just take things off my plate.
This went on until I found the one thing I believe is the pinnacle of productivity. This is definitely one of the best ideas for becoming infinitely more productive than you are now.
When I found out about systems — and I know I talk about that all the time — to me, that is the Mt. Everest of productivity. This is where it became serious.
Successful Productivity Systems Require Reliable Staff Members
Let us go back to when I was doing my Amazon dropshipping business. I was doing management work, taking orders, doing customer service, refunds, looking for suppliers, product listings, accounting, etc… All these different things were burning me out!
Yes, it was a dropshipping business. And anyone who is into dropshipping can talk about how great it is to work from your laptop and you can be anywhere you want.
“You can do all the things that you want to do because you’re dropshipping and you don’t have to have a product or packaging. You can work at the beach and be anywhere you want,” dropshipping owners would say.
And yes, what they say is true. But you would be on the beach working on accounts payable, accounts receivable,, customer handling, dealing with irate suppliers, and a multitude of other things. In the end, you would not be able to enjoy your time at the beach. You would not even be able to step away from your laptop.
The fact is, it does not matter how awesome your productivity system is if you do not have a team that knows exactly what to do in every single situation. You would be handcuffed to your laptop.
Perfecting Your Subsystems is Key to Greater Productivity
One of the best things that ever happened to me was learning about systems and how to create step-by-step checklists. I know it is not sexy; I know it is not. It sounds boring and it is not “hype” enough that you can easily create ads about them on YouTube or Instagram and get people super excited about it.
But I am telling you right now. Understanding systems opens up the world to you! But what do I really mean by systems?
Everything that you see around you is a system — everything that you are touching. In fact, the phone you are using to listen to this episode today is a system. The blog post version of this episode is also a system in itself. And within those systems are several more subsystems. Just like the movie Inception, there are systems within a system.
So for example, your computer has a keyboard. That keyboard itself is a system. But it has different keys on it and each one of those keys have triggers. There are mechanisms that bounce the keys back up. Every time you press a key, there are little subsystems in place that activate.
Perfecting each of those subsystems — each key — makes a perfect keyboard as a whole.The same thing goes with your phone — it has a camera, touch screen, accelerometer, etc… The entire device is a system of subsystems that work in sync to make the entire device work.
Understanding Subsystems within Your Business Processes
The same thing goes for your business. Your business, as a bigger system, is composed of smaller subsystems. For example, a business task could be one system and the processes involved for that task could be its subsystems.
Your customer service might be a whole system and within it are several subsystems such as: how to handle refunds, how to greet your customers, how to manage orders, how to process payments, how to do accounts receivable from customers, etc… Those are little subsystems of the entire customer service system.
And for every subsystem in your business, there lies a step-by-step checklist. A step-by-step checklist could be something like:
- First, log in to QuickBooks Online through the URL QuickBooks.intuit.com
- Next, click the “Sign In” button to the upper-right corner
- This takes you to the Sign In Page. Go ahead and enter your “User ID”, “Password”, and click the green “Sign In” button. Note: QuickBooks might ask for verification through your phone number if this is the first time you are logging in.
- Once your number has been verified, you proceed to log in and you are brought to your QuickBooks dashboard.
- Then, click the “Invoices” button…
…and the list goes on until the end of the process.
The above example is a step-by-step process for the subsystem, “How to Send Your Invoice to Customers”. And that subsystem is one of many that falls under the Customer Service system. In turn, that Customer Service system is one of many systems that make up your entire business.
Improve Your Business Productivity with Step-By-Step Checklists
I encourage you to take your processes and write them out step-by-step in such detail that even your grandmother can take it, read it, and do the process without asking you questions. You can even use pictures to perfectly illustrate where to click or type in.
When you take the time to create these documents, you are investing time. And that investment is key because you enable virtually anybody in the world to perform your process. This is a vital part of your overall boost in productivity — now and forever. Getting things done in your business no longer has to be bound to specific staff members.
Imagine if you had a process for every subsystem that you have in your business. Your business would run like clockwork now and forever!
In fact, some of the best books that you can read about this topic right now are Sam Carpenter’s Work The System, Mike Michalowicz’s Clockwork, and Michael Gerber’s E-Myth. Those books are extremely powerful resources that will help you grow your business on a scale you have not dreamed before.
If you write your process documents in the traditional way, it will take a long time but it is a great investment nonetheless. Of course, you can also go to ProSulum.com and get yourself a Virtual Systems Architect (VSA).
Create a Process Video for one of your tasks, submit that to your assigned VSA, and they will document that process for you step-by-step with screenshots. And later on, they can perform that task for you so you never have to do it again. You can offload tasks and get things done for less than minimum wage in most states in the US and in other countries.
We like to call this system The Freedom In Five Minutes Method because all you need is one five-minute video per day of something you need to offload.
Our VSAs at Pro Sulum can take your process videos, document them, and perform those tasks for you and you truly enjoy the beach. Now, you can leave your laptop, run on the sand and actually enjoy the water. In fact, you don’t have to bring your laptop to the beach! Just go to the beach and enjoy your time!
So, what is one thing right now that you can document — that you would never want to do again? You have the power and the choice to get the busywork documented and hand it off to someone else and be completely free from the minutiae.
I challenge you to find just one thing right now even if it is the most simple task in your business. Allow yourself the freedom to be innovative, be more creative, and feel more alive in your business and personal life.
Resources and Links
This is Dean Soto. Go check out ProSulum.com and FreedomInFiveMinutes.com and I will see you in the next Freedom In Five Minutes podcast episode.